Buttermilk Bakery

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Buttermilk ext

I stopped by Buttermilk Bakery on a recent Saturday and found it bustling with people patiently waiting in a line that snaked through the shop.

Of course, we’re not talking about a big shop, so the snake would be more like a large garter than, say, an anaconda. Or maybe more like a racer because the line moved pretty fast.

Buttermilk pastries

A little too fast. You can’t really make your decision about what to get until you’re right up to the glass that separates the drooling public from the tempting array of freshly baked goods.

Se7en Bites Wins Gold Foodster Award for Best Breakfast

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Se7ev award

Boy, did I choose the right time to visit Se7en Bites, the "Sweet & Savory Bake Shop" on Primrose Drive in Orlando's Milk District.

Not that there's a bad time to visit. There's always something good being baked or assembled by pastry chef and owner Trina Gregory-Propst and her team.

But I chose Sunday morning brunch time to stop by and present Gregory-Propst with her Foodster Award plaque. Se7en Bites was voted the Gold Award for Best Breakfast in the first annual program that recognizes excellence in the area's independent restaurants.

And even better than choosing Sunday brunch, I happened to be there shortly after 10:30 a.m. That's the approximate time that Cinnamon Bun Sunday occurs. Gregory-Propst explained that each Sunday she bakes some cinnamon buns -- different recipes, but clearly cinnamon buns -- and she makes only two sets of two dozen. When they're gone, they're gone.

And I got one!

Should have grabbed two. Dozen.

Shakers American Cafe

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Shakers Grandas

I stopped by Shakers American Cafe the other day to present the Foodster Award for Best Breakfast to owners Greg and Terry Granda. They won the platinum award, as voted on my readers of ScottJosephOrlando.

While I was there, I figured I’d have a little breakfast myself. And I have to agree with the majority: this is a darned fine breakfast.

Shakers full breakfast

I had the Mexican Omelet, which had big chunks of sausage with green chilies and black beans, served with some salsa on the side. It came with hash brown potatoes, nicely crisped, and I requested a biscuit, which was fried to give it a little extra butteryness.

As long as I had the biscuit, I thought I should get some gravy to go with it. Sufficiently thick and unctuous, a fine accompaniment.

Omelet Bar

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Omelet Bar exterior

I’m sitting at Omelet Bar, a new restaurant across from the main UCF campus that specializes in breakfast and lunch. Or as its tagline says, “Breakfast. Munch. Lunch.” Those of you who associate the urge to munch with late night will be disappointed to know that OB is open only until 2:30 p.m. every day, so you’ll have to satisfy the munchie urge elsewhere.

And it’s not like the name implies other than morning meals, but the menu does feature more than carefully coagulated eggs. Once the lunch hour rolls around there’s an array of burgers, sandwiches and wraps from which to choose. And the early closing hour also doesn’t mean you can’t have a drink — everything from mimosas to bloodies to whiskey sours are yours for the sipping. (College proximity drives demand.)

An early morning appointment brought me to the east side of town, so I decided to stop in for breakfast.

Tamale Co.

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Tamale Co. breakfast

If you’re in the vicinity of the Winter Park Farmer’s Market Saturday, do yourself a favor and find a parking space (try Maitland) and visit the Tamale Co. food truck.

I happened upon the truck — which is more van-like, if you want to be technical — while I was strolling along looking for something breakfasty. You might be thinking, “Tamales don’t sound like something for breakfast,” to which I say, “You must be new here.”

Besides, all you have to do is crack a couple of eggs onto just about anything and, wah-la, as they say in France, breakfast. (By the way, the French lessons are going great, thanks for asking.)

So anyway, I happened upon the tamale truckvan — shiny black with orange lettering, and poster hanging from the ordering window of two peppered eggs sitting on a couple of tamales with rice and beans. The sign said that it was called Tamale Sunrise. Perfect, I thought, and I placed an order, though I held no delusion that what I would be handed through the window would look anything like what was in the picture.

Shannon's Casual Cafe

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Shannons chow hound

To be perfectly honest with you, I never really thought that Shannon’s Casual Cafe would make it. I had breakfast there recently, and it wasn’t until I was leaving and turned around to leave a tip on the table that I noticed I had been sitting beneath a framed copy of the Chow Hound column I wrote when the place first opened.

The publication date in the Orlando Sentinel was January 8, 1993.

So I guess they’ve lasted longer than I expected.

Sunny's Egg Cafe and Sushi Bar

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Sunnys melt

I’ve seen sushi show up in some unusual places, but I think this might be the strangest: Sunny’s Egg Cafe and Sushi Bar.

I’ve evolved over the years from my view that sushi was something that should be served only from Japanese restaurants. I gave way to the thinking that it was a good way to introduce fresh fish selections onto other menus. Though it started with Thai and other Asian restaurants, sushi as a staple merged onto more mainstream menus. This is the first diner with a sushi bar that I’ve seen.

Breakfast at the Coop

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Coop breakfast

I stopped by the Coop in Winter Park to try the new breakfast menu as the guest of the founder, John Rivers. The quick-serve restaurant, which opened as a fried chicken and Southern cuisine specialty, added a breakfast menu recently.

As you'd expect from any Southern breakfast menu, there are the usual biscuits and gravy, pancakes, and, marrying the dinner menu to the morning fare, the inevitable chicken and waffles. 

I'm an eggs-for-breakfast kind of guy, so I focused my attention on that part of the menu. I almost went for the fried catfish and grits (which came with an egg, so I'd be covered) but decided on the Low Country Omelet instead. It was a fat omelet stuffed with sauteed shrimp and bits of spicy andouille sausage in a red sauce that oozed out when pierced. It was plopped atop a bed of Anson Mills grits, so it was a bit like having shrimp and grits for breakfast. The biscuit that came with it was fresh and firm and it had me wishing I'd gotten an order of gravy to cover it with.

Rivers told me that the Coop is very busy for breakfast on the weekends but that during the week it's calmer. I'm going to keep that in mind the next time I need to schedule a morning meeting over eggs. Or catfish.

The Coop is at 610 W. Morse Blvd., Winter Park. It is open for breakfast Monday through Saturday at 7 a.m. The phone number is 407-843-2667.

Fairbanks Restaurant

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Fairbanks Restaurant Omelet

No one opens a place like Fairbanks Restaurant anymore. And I should say right off that I have a hard time referring to it as Fairbanks Restaurant and not Fairbanks Diner, though everything about the place screams diner, though there is no breakfast counter and the food is prepared in a hidden kitchen. Still, you can hear the sizzles of bacon and the “Hi, Hons” as the servers efficiently work their tables.

This is the sort of place I like to come to for breakfast, and when I found myself in Winter Park at an unusually early hour, I stopped in. I ordered the Fairbanks omelet, wtih bacon, ham, sausage, onion, finely diced green peppers, and a few mushrooms folded into an eggy package with melted cheddar on top. It was accompanied by chunky home fries that were nicely crisped but not nearly as greasy as I would have liked them to be.

Fairbanks Restaurant gravy

My breakfast came with a biscuit, so I also got a side order of sausage gravy to cover it up. I liked it all.

And yes, I mean just liked. This is not the sort of place that causes one to wax eloquently about the food. It’s food. It’s made to order and it fills your belly. The coffee is hot but is not something you’d get from a press pot.

But you’ll be comfortable in the homey setting. (Well, you’ll be comfortable if you don’t sit in the booth that I did, the one with the broken spring.) And you’ll be welcomed when you come through the door and thanked when you leave.

They don’t make places like this anymore.

Fairbanks Restaurant is at 1800 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park. It is open for breakfast and lunch daily. The phone number is 407-645-3199.

Chubby's Family Restaurant

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Chubbys breakfast

I’ve always wondered why someone would want to call a restaurant Chubby’s. Not sure calling attention to the results of an eating disorder is good for an eateries bottom line.

In the case of Chubby’s Family Restaurant in East Orlando, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of theming that would warrant the name, either. Nothing like the little fat kid outside the chain of Big Boy restaurants. Instead, nostalgia seems to be the theme here (in which case you’d think they’d want to harken back to a time when obesity wasn’t running rampant in America, but don’t get me started). Each wall of the small strip mall storefront space is adorned with its own nostalgic theme. I sat directly across from a shrine to Betty Boop and next to a wall filled with Elviseria. If you sit at the breakfast counter you can observe a study in Marilyn Monroe and vintage cars, vintage meaning a decade or two after I was born.